Harlow schools creating dementia friendly generation through Healthy Schools Programme

Education / Fri 26th Nov 2021 at 02:41pm

PRIMARY and secondary school aged children can now learn more about dementia and take part in dementia related activities thanks to the Essex Healthy Schools Programme. One in three young people know someone living with dementia. This could be a grandparent, parent, family member or family friend which is why it is important that every young person understands what dementia is and how it might affect someone.

The Healthy Schools Programme aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the school community and includes topics such as healthy eating, physical activity, and mental health. Schools meeting the criteria can nominate themselves for a Healthy Schools Award. The programme now includes dementia project related activities to ensure that younger generations can learn more about dementia from an early age.

Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service (ECFWS) – which is run by Virgin Care in partnership with Barnardo’s – has successfully joined forces with Adult Social Care at Essex County Council through their Healthy Schools Programme. The aim of the initiative is to help children and young people to understand the challenges of dementia.

Kathleen Ely, Interim Managing Director of Virgin Care’s 0-19 in Essex, said: “This is an important part of the Healthy Schools Programme. As life expectancy rises, there will be more cases of dementia, especially in older people and children and young people need to fully understand it. The condition can be a difficult subject for children and young people to understand and talk about. But this excellent partnership work will give the children and young people an insight into why a relation or neighbour may be acting in a particular way.”

Councillor John Spence, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health said: “My thanks to all the teachers and students doing such fantastic work to raise awareness and understanding of dementia. It is only with greater awareness that the stigma can be reduced. With young people having natural empathy and compassion, younger generations will lead the way towards dementia friendly communities.”

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